Man Utd, Saudi and retirement Where the 16 best wonderkids on Football Manager 2013 are now

The 16 highest-rated wonderkids in Football Manager 2013 have experienced widely different careers since the game was released more than a decade ago, with many failing to hit the heights expected

This November will make 11 years since Football Manager 2013 was first released, with a slew of big-name stars then at the start of their careers.

It has been a mixed decade since then for those wonderkids, with some going on to reach the highest levels of the game, while others crashed and burned. World Cup winners, Champions League stars and Premier League heroes were all featured as the highest rated young players on the game.

Among the top 16 rated youngsters were the likes of Neymar, Jack Wilshere and Eden Hazard. And among that group, their careers have wildly differed, as Mirror Football examines.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Marc-Andre ter Stegen was one of the best young goalkeepers around a decade ago. And he has certainly fulfil the promise he showed while coming through at Borussia Mönchengladbach.

He joined Barcelona two years after FM13 was released, quickly taking over as the Catalan side’s first-choice keeper. He has won the Champions League, five Copa del Reys and five LaLigas, including last season.

Kyriakos Papadopoulos
Hailed as a rising star while with Schalke, Kyriakos Papadopoulos has lived a nomadic career since the release of FM13. He has featured for no less than nine clubs in the last decade and currently turns out for Greek Super League side Lamia.

Phil Jones
The future looked bright for Phil Jones, with legendary Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson a huge fan of the defender. But his career was ruined by injury, spending the best part of the last four years on the sidelines.

While he counts the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League among his list of honours, Jones remains without a club following his release from United in the summer. He is still only 31 and is now considering the next steps for his career.

David Alaba
David Alaba was just beginning to make a name for himself at Bayern Munich when FM13 was released. He has since become one of the world’s best defenders, winning 10 Bundesliga titles and three Champions Leagues.

The last of those came at Real Madrid, who he joined on a free transfer in the summer of 2021. Alaba is also widely seen as the best player his country of Austria has ever produced and is their captain.

Remarkably beating out Casemiro to be named on this list was Romulo, who at the time played for Spartak Moscow. But a horrific knee tear soon after his move to Russia saw his career stumble.

He won the Russian Premier League title with Spartak in 2017, before returning to Brazil. He now plays for lower tier side Retrô and has failed to earn any caps for the Brazilian national side since the FM13 was released.

Marco Verratti
Marco Verratti has certainly lived up to the hype, establishing himself as one of the world’s best midfielders at PSG. He has been a mainstay with the Ligue 1 giants and his second on their all-time appearances list.

He has won a multitude of trophies while at the Parc des Princes, where he remains today. Verratti has also been a key player for Italy on the international stage, winning Euro 2020 with the Azzurri.

Thiago had hoped to become the new face of Barcelona’s midfield, but joined Bayern Munich just a year after FM13 was released. He won seven successive Bundesliga titles and the treble in 2020 with the German giants.

He joined Liverpool in the summer of 2020, but injuries have stunted his time at Anfield. He won the FA Cup in 2022, but is currently sidelined and is yet to make an appearance this season.

Raphael Varane
Raphael Varane has certainly lived up to the hype, and is now among the most successful players of his generation. A highly successful period at Real Madrid saw him win four Champions Leagues.

He moved to Manchester United in the summer of 2021 and has recovered from a difficult debut campaign to become a key player. Oh, and he also won the World Cup with France in 2018, the highest honour a player can achieve.

Eden Hazard
How the mighty have fallen. Eden Hazard was one of the best players in the world during his time at Chelsea, winning two Premier League titles and the Europa League.

But a mega-money move to Real Madrid in 2019 failed to pay off, with Hazard never earning the trust of any of his managers at the Bernabeu. He was released this summer and remains without a club.

Mario Gotze
It’s fair to say Mario Gotze has had a mixed career since FM13 was released. He was a key player in Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund team, before a move to Bayern Munich did not work out as planned.

He was able to reset his club career at PSV Eindhoven and now turns out for Eintracht Frankfurt. Gotze has enjoyed more success on the international stage, scoring the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.

Iker Muniain
It has been a frustrating career for Iker Muniain, who has impressively never left Athletic Bilbao. Six months before Football Manager 2013’s release, a 19-year-old Muniain was superb as Bilbao stunned Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in the Europa League.

He has remained with the Basque side in the decade since, making over 500 appearances. His time has not be rewarded by trophies though, finishing as a losing finalist in the Copa del Rey four times.

Chelsea had only just signed Oscar as a 20-year-old back when FM13 was released. He went on to win the Europa League and Premier League with the Blues, before falling out of favour.

After four-and-a-half years with Chelsea, he signed for Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG for an Asian transfer record of £60m. He remains with the Chinese side and has slipped out of many people’s minds.

Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen was one of the jewels of Ajax’s academy when FM13 released. He secured a move to Tottenham, becoming one of the best players in the Premier League, before joining Inter Milan, winning Serie A.

He tragically suffered a heart attack during Denmark’s first game of Euro 2020, but rekindled his career at Brentford. The Dane now plays for Manchester United, winning the Carabao Cup in his first campaign at Old Trafford.

Jack Wilshere
Just 18 months before Football Manager 2013’s release, Wilshere produced his famous midfield masterclass against Barcelona. That proved to be the peak of his career though, as injuries battered the midfielder.

Stints at Bournemouth, West Ham and Danish side Aahaus failed to reignite his career and he was forced to retire. The 31-year-old is now the manager of Arsenal’s Under-18s side.

Lucas Moura
At one time Lucas Moura was PSG’s record signing, but his career has never reached the heights expected. He won four Ligue 1 titles at PSG before joining Tottenham.

He scored the famous goal that sent them to the 2019 Champions League final, as part of a stunning second leg hat-trick at Ajax. He was released in the summer, joining Brazilian side São Paulo.

Depending on how you look at him, Neymar has either had a brilliant career or been a major disappointment. His attempt to get out of Lionel Messi’s shadow by joining PSG did not pay off.

And when Messi himself moved to the Parc des Princes, the ‘dream team’ that was formed failed to fire. With PSG undergoing a major revamp this summer, Neymar opted to move to Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal.

Romelu Lukaku
Another who has failed to convince Premier League fans that he has lived up to the hype is Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian endured underwhelming spells at Manchester United and Chelsea, lasting just a season with the latter.

But he has enjoyed more success in Italy across spells at Inter Milan and now Roma. Lukaku was named Serie A Player of the Year as he fired Inter to the Scudetto in 2021 and has now linked up with Jose Mourinho at the Stadio Olimpico.